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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Are the Conservatives right on the Defense budget?

I’m changing my mind again. Watching PBS, which I think is the fair and inclusive US network, reporting on the longest war in American history, i.e. Afghanistan, I realize that maybe the billions and billions of dollars we are spending to protect people, especially girls who want an education, from the Taliban who are right wing, true believing, anti-progressive, distorters of Islam may be necessary.

I have been against the inflation of the Defense budget which most Republicans and some conservative Democrats support. I thought that those dollars would be better spent here on our own people in need, on infrastructure and local jobs. But after reading reports from Brookings and Foreign Affairs, I realize that perhaps the best help for those in poverty around the world, the best way to pursue social justice is to support the US military in the Middle East.

I do think that the invasion of Iraq was stupid and that once done the dismissal of the Iraqi Army when they were ready to serve under the US military was a big mistake. I believe that we should have focused on Afghanistan and Al Qaida as a police, not war, action. We didn’t and made a mess. But now what?

I have no illusions that the U.S. could lead some coalition to invade the Middle East and win control of it to make the region safe for democracy.  Bush tried that and it was an abysmal failure. Those who are advocating this or calling the administration weak for not pursuing a larger war must be resisted. The recent Atlantc article on "The Art of Avoiding War," I hope is read widely by the administration and Congress and citizens.

However I think we should do everything short of invasion to support those parts of the Middle East that are trying to stop the right wing forces of Islam or any other culture who seek to deny personal, political, and cultural freedom in the name of religion or capitalism, socialism, or any other ideology.

Violence, while never justifiable, is necessary to stop immediate violence or any sort of coercion that does not allow persons or their communities to progress educationally, economically, and politically. Now I find myself agreeing with those conservatives who want to spend much more American money in safeguarding the people of other countries around the world, probably for much different reasons.

But right action over right intentions!



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